Cardinals, the class of baseball with 100 to play

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Another mathematical milestone of the 2015 season has passed with most teams having played 62 games, leaving 100 to play.

We are about 3 weeks away from the mathematical midpoint of the season when teams will have played 81 games. It’s a point in the season when most teams will determine if they will be buyers or sellers as the trading deadline approaches at the end of next month.

This season 2015 is already shaping up as having an unusually large number of highly regarded rookies making their MLB debuts.

Most notable among these freshmen has been Las Vegan Kris Bryant, whose debut two weeks into the season was made with much fanfare. And the early results have been promising. Both he and his Chicago Cubs teammate and fellow rookie Addison Russell have already made an impact.

Two rookies in recent seasons – the Angels’ Mike Trout and Washington’s Bryce Harper – are already considered among the game’s best players.

Only St. Louis (41-21) is winning at least 60 percent of its games. The Los Angeles Dodgers have the second best record but at 37-26 their winning percentage is just .587. What St. Louis has accomplished to date is very impressive considering the number and magnitude of injuries they’ve suffered, most notably the loss of pitching ace Adam Wainwright after just 4 starts.

St. Louis’ 6 game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central represents the largest Divisional lead. Two Divisions have leads of less than one full game, including the AL East where Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees are tied for the lead. The New York Mets started this week with a half game lead over Washington in the NL East.

Kansas City leads Minnesota by 1½ in the AL Central with defending Division champion Detroit in third, just three games above .500.

Houston leads Texas by 2½ in the AL West with preseason favorite Seattle continuing to struggle at 28-35 and in fourth place, 7½ behind the Astros after dropping 2 of 3 in Houston last weekend. The Dodgers hold a 3½ game lead over San Francisco in the NL West.

It’s also been a wild and volatile season at the betting windows. Just 3 teams have shown at least 10 units of profit thus far while an astonishing 7 teams have lost at least 10.

It’s no surprise that the Cardinals have been the biggest moneymakers this season as they’ve rewarded their supporters with 18.0 units of profit which is pretty amazing through just 62 games. Texas (plus 13.2 units) and Minnesota (plus 12.5 units) are the other teams up at least 10 units. In fourth place in the Moneymaking Derby is Kansas City at plus 8.0 units.

What is surprising is that there are 7 teams down at least 10 units. It’s surprising because after such a sluggish and dramatic start these teams continue to draw money which, for the most part, increases their losses.

The most offending team has been Oakland, down a whopping 20.2 units for the season. Much of the reason for their poor record is the love affair the sabermetricians continue to have with the positive profile of Oakland from a statistical perspective.

The other half dozen teams that continue to attract action but are down more than 10 units through 60 or so games are Boston (down 16.5 units), Philadelphia (down 16.3), Milwaukee (down 15.2), Miami (down 12.5), Seattle (down 11.6) and Cleveland (down 11.5).

Although it’s possible, and perhaps even likely, that these results will reverse themselves and the seven teams just noted will, as a group, be profitable over the next 100 games as a “regression to the mean” takes place for the time being this often frequently touted and often relied upon indicator of a team’s performance is taking a beating.

Score one for the “old schoolers” right now. But the story of the 2015 baseball season, from a betting perspective, still has many chapters to be written.

Here’s a look at three series this weekend.

Giants at Dodgers: These long time, bi-coastal rivals are meeting for their third series of the season. Remarkably, the home team has won 8 of their 9 games to date with the Giants winning 7 of the 8, including a pair of three game home sweeps. After a slow start Clayton Kershaw is in peak form. World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner remains the ace of the Giants staff while rookie Chris Heston has been a pleasant surprise (even no-hitting the Mets last week) and veteran Tim Lincecum has posted solid numbers.

PLAYS: OVER 6.5 or lower in starts not involving Kershaw, Greinke or Bumgarner; Dodgers -150 or less in starts by Kershaw or Greinke not facing Bumgarner; Giants -125 or less in a start by Bumgarner not facing Kershaw or Greinke; Either team +120 or more in games not involving Bumgarner, Greinke or Kershaw.

Orioles at Blue Jays: Toronto has won 6 of the 9 games played between these teams already this season. Both teams entered this week playing very well, especially the Blue Jays. The Orioles are above average overall but with the severe split of averaging 4.8 rpg at home but just 3.5 rpg on the road. Interestingly, Toronto’s pitching has been much better at home where the Jays are allowing just 3.8 rpg as compared to the 5.1 rpg they are allowing on the road.

PLAYS: Toronto -125 or less in any matchup; Baltimore +140 or more in any matchup; OVER 8.5 or less in any matchup.

Cubs at Twins: This intriguing interleague matchup features a pair of teams that have exceeded expectations more than a third of the way through the season. Of the two the Cubs are more likely to have the better season as their roster is much more complete and better balanced. The Twins’ lineup is not quite at the same level and their pitching staff, aside from closer Glen Perkins, is rather ordinary.

PLAYS: Cubs +120 or more in any matchup; Cubs -125 or less in starts by Arrieta, Hammel or Lester against any Minnesota starter; Twins +130 or more with any starter against Arrieta, Hammel or Lester; Twins -115 or less against any other Cubs starter; OVER 7.5 or lower in starts by Arrieta, Hammel or Lester; OVER 8.5 or lower in other matchups.

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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